NanoBioreactors recreate the microenvironments of normal tissue, non-adherent cells, tumor-infected tissue and wounded tissue in vitro. These microfabricated bioreactors provide independent control of chemokine and growth factor gradients, shear forces, cellular perfusion and the permeability of physical barriers to cellular migration. This fine control allows detailed optical and electrochemical observations of normal, immune and cancerous cells during activation, division, cell migration, intravasation, extravasation and angiogenesis.
A research team led by Professor John Wikswo of Vanderbilt University has developed a low-cost, small-volume, metering peristaltic micro pumps and microvalves. They can be either utilized as a stand-alone device, or incorporated into microfluidic subsystems for research instruments or miniaturized point-of-care instruments, Lab on a Chip devices, and disposable fluid delivery cartridges. The key advantage of this pump is that it can deliver flow rates as low as a few hundred nL/min to tens of µL/min against pressure heads as high as 20 psi, at approximately 1/10th the cost of stand-alone commercial syringe and peristaltic pumps. The RPV can implement complicated fluid control protocols and fluidic mixing without bulky pneumatic controllers. Both the RPPM and RPV can be readily optimized for particular applications.
This technology allows the simultaneous detection of RNA transcript abundance (as an assay of gene expression) and protein abundance (as an assay of protein expression) from biological samples without RNA isolation, labeling or amplification. Existing technologies allow for very efficient determinations of protein abundance from a wide variety of biological samples. These methods are in widespread use and are based on mass spectrometry technologies. There are no available technologies that allow efficient and quantitative assessment of multiple RNA transcripts without a previous isolation followed by labeling and/or amplification. The most efficient technologies currently available make use of DNA microarrays to profile RNA abundance as a measure of gene expression. While very robust and useful, these technologies are very labor intensive and suffer from a number of technological drawbacks. This technology takes advantage of a number of existing methods and techniques and brings them together in a novel manner that greatly expands the state of the art for gene expression.
This invention combines the microfluidic and microelectronic devices and techniques required for the microminiaturization of cell culture and cell measurement systems to allow monitoring the response of populations of 1 to several hundred living cells. The instrument(s) allows for the detection of extracellular, membrane, and intracellular parameters; and the incorporation of closed-loop control techniques to continuously monitor the health of the cell and adjust the environmental and pharmacological parameters that control the cell.